Empties Vol. 12: Favorites sealed

October 11, 2019

Gosh I’ve been sick since last Friday, and just as I thought I was getting better, I actually got worse!  Which is probably my body’s way of telling me to take things slow for a while… which is just what I’m doing by sitting back and hammering out this post.  The past 3 months have been very satisfying as I managed to clear out more products, some I unearthed from the depths of my crypts as I was packing up the home.  This volume of empties is all the more satisfying as it sealed HG status on some products that I’ve been enjoying for awhile.  I will recap all of them for you, but this time, let’s start from my new-found favorite category of products – haircare!

Empties Vol12

Haircare

I’ve been having lots of fun discovering new brands and products in the haircare category this past year as I permed my hair, and now it is growing out and becoming rather messy, I’ve had to evolve with the times.  I finally bit the bullet and purchased the Dyson Airwrap, and let me just say it, it’s a real game changer!  So, I wash my hair every night and then I actually style it with the Airwrap before going to bed.  This is pertinent information and you’ll see why after the jump…

Empties Vol. 12: haircare

  1. Chez Vous Trilogy Bespoke Boosters* is part of my staple haircare, and I’ve reviewed it before here.  Each jar is designed for 2 uses, but I actually stretch mine out to last me 4 uses and I only use them once a fortnight (or if I can remember to!).  The one I emptied here is called Repair & Rescue which is perfect for me as I recently lightened my hair (on top of that perm) so my hair was feeling rather in need.  If you need some advice for hair, get in touch with the team here (unaffiliated link!).
  2. The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Cleansing Hair Scrub* is something that has been sitting on my shelf this past year.  I had been crazy determined to empty it but it is just impossible to get through, I’ve finally decided to just bin it.  The texture is really coarse, even coarser than most body scrubs.  Also, it does not foam up, unlike the Christophe Robin one (see here), and is overall not pleasant trying to work it into my hair.
  3. IGK No More Blow* is a new toy I put to work, and surprisingly a huge hit!  As I mentioned I like to wash my hair every night before going to bed, and between putting my son to bed and wanting to style my hair in advance of the next morning, I need every trick possible to cut down the drying time.  Spritzing this through wet hair actually reduces blow-dry time by half (my estimate).  When my perm was still fairly serviceable, I would spritz this on and my hair would dry with the curls in place.
  4. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-in Defining Creme is another magic potion to keep my freshly styled curls in place while I go to bed.  It is a cream that keeps my hair soft and does not cause my hair to bunch up and turn crunchy.  I love it so much I’ve already restocked this!
  5. Briogeo Curl Charisma Amino + Avocado Shampoo is part of the same range that keeps curls looking fresh.  I’ve tried a bunch of shampoos designed for curly hair that I purchased from Net-a-Porter and Sephora over the past few months, and this is definitely the most affordable and effective… my favorite!
  6. Gloss Moderne Clean Luxury Shampoo is highly raved on social media, and I was very much taken by their clean marketing aesthetic. Despite its claims for protecting hair and extending treatments, I (and my regular salon stylist) felt my hair getting drier and stripped from daily use of this shampoo.  I still have about a quarter of the bottle left and it is quite pricey so it is double pity, but I’ve decided to bin it.
  7. Swell Ultimate Protect & Renew Serum* is an all-in-one finishing product, adding gloss, concealing split ends and protecting hair from heat damage.  I love that it is silicon-free and does not weigh my hair down nor add any texture to it.  It goes over both damp and dry hair easily and gets fully absorbed, leaving no trace behind.

Empties Vol. 12: bodycare

Moving onto Bodycare, there are quite a few travel-sizes that I decided to use up this quarter.

  1. Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil* is a deluxe-sized sample that I received from one of the Lookfantastic beauty boxes and I enjoyed it so much it disappeared faster than I can spit out its name.  I massage a tiny cap-ful of this oil over my damp skin, and then shower off with hot water.  The steam lifts the scent and really helps to jumpstart my day!
  2. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Body & Hand Wash* carries 1 of my favorite fragrances from the brand.  However, I found the scent from the wash stronger than the cologne itself.  And whilst I generally enjoy musky scents in perfumes, it is not something I am accustomed to as a wash so I found it rather over-powering .  Just as with the colognes, I actually recommend layering this with 1 or more other Jo Malone scents, just to tame it down.
  3. Crabtree & Evelyn Somerset Meadow is part of the brand’s classic collections.  But the brand seems to be going through some serious rebranding this past year, and I think Somerset Meadow is no longer being sold.
  4. Lush Pink Custard Shower Jelly* is an antique souvenir from Mothers’ Day 2017, and probably expired (yikes) but I still used it no problem.  It is quite a whole new experience showering (i.e. chasing around my bathroom floor) with the pink blob that refuses to stay in my hands and has a tendancy to jump out.  But it was all good fun.  I actually enjoyed breaking chunks of it off and turning it into a creamy lather under water.  I am definitely looking forward to their Christmas edition of shower jellies!
  5. The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Gently Exfoliating Cream Scrub* is soooo incredibly gentle, even babies can use it (not that they need to!).  The physical exfoliants are so incredibly fine, and the formula is so soothing on the skin, I almost want to use it on my face.  Great for those who like to exfoliate frequently or with very sensitive skin, but if you prefer a more invigorating scrub you may be disappointed.
  6. The Body Shop Thai Makrut Lime Firming Oil* is part of their Spa of The World line.  Formulated with Community Trade Marula Oil, it is nourishing to the skin and also uplifts the senses with a zingy makrut lime scent.  However, compared to my trusty Clarins Body Treatment Oil, I think anything else simply pales in comparison.  I found my skin did not absorb this oil as fully and it leaves my skin feeling oily long after application, and it does not help to tone up my fatty bits.
  7. Origins Gloomaway Grapefruit Body Souffle *held so many promises with its tantalizing name, and yet failed to deliver.  Not quite a souffle, but a light cream that left a somewhat tactile sensation afterwards.  I love the scent of grapefruit, but this just did not smell like I’d imagined.  Sadly, it also did not moisturize my skin despite the texture.  I am really glad to be done with this.
  8. Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-aging Body Cream* is a game-changer.  I’m totally into anti-aging, and when I saw there’s an anti-aging body cream i’m all over it!  The texture is a rich fluid that feels soothing and not at all heavy even in Singapore’s tropical humidity, and it absorbs well leaving my skin feeling baby soft.  There are also antioxidants to protect the body skin from free radicals which is just brilliant.  At USD90.83 for 200ml, it is pricey for a body lotion though, but a fraction of the price of La Mer.  A great investment for those of you who can bear the price tag.
  9. Oh I snuck 1 tiny makeup item in here!  Shu Uemura Hard Formula* is hands-down my HG brow pencil [reviewed here].  I hoarded this for so long, you can see it’s down to practically a stub before bearing to part with it.  And I would have probably kept on shaving it down if I didn’t almost cut my hand along the way.  In any case, I’ve long ago restocked this!

Empties Vol. 12: skincare

Finally, over to my favorite category of products – Skincare!  I really focused my efforts on emptying out old, semi-used products, and some of these I’ve been working on for over a year.  Lots of old friends here, so let’s get through them systematically:

Makeup removers / cleansers:

  1. Shu Uemura Porefinist Cleansing Oil* is designed for oily skin and those with pore concerns.  I love Shu Uemura cleansing oils in general, but sadly this one is not meant for me.  I have dry dehydrated skin, and my top choice is the Ultime8 [read here].  However, if you have a different skin type from me, my experience should not deter you from trying this one out!
  2. Diptyque Nourishing Cleansing Balm is as luxurious as the brand evokes.  The balm texture is ideal for those with dry skin and especially in the coming colder months.  It melts when warmed between the palms, and goes to work on dry skin to remove every last trace of makeup without stripping skin of its natural moisture.  After rinsing off, I do feel the need for a 2nd double cleanse with my regular foaming cleanser, but if you prefer to move off from here, that’s fine too.  It is strongly fragranced though, with the herbal notes of geranium which may take some getting used to.
  3. Origins Original Skin Makeup-Removing Jelly with Willowherb* is an interesting gel-like texture that is new to me.  When worked into dry skin, it melts into the skin and then transforms into a milky cleanser with some water.  Of the 3 makeup removers here, this one performed the poorest at removing my makeup.  Even after double cleansing with my usual foaming cleanser, I still find traces of foundation especially around the undereye area (where I also add a layer of concealer).
  4. ByTerry Detoxilyn City Mask* is a high-end rendition of the popular Korean oxygen bubble mask trend.  ByTerry’s version is formulated with rose leaf extract and moringa seed extract, to hydrate and boost radiance.  However, it also contains a bunch of chemicals including parabens, ethanol-byproducts, SLS, etc… ingredients that normally make me cringe.  Performance-wise, I found this did not bubble up as vigorously as the cheaper Korean versions, and like all other bubble masks I’ve tried, left my skin red and patchy.
  5. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Caring Wash* is so gentle I use it even on my son!  The description says it removes makeup as well, but I have only used it in the morning on bare skin.  As a double cleanse, I found it much too gentle to remove oily residues from my heavier makeup removers, but if you have very stressed or sensitive skin, this may be a good option.
  6. Cosme Decorte AQ Washing Cream* is a luxurious foaming wash if you use just a tiny amount.  The Japanese way of cleansing your skin is to work up the lather first in the palms and then to work that over the face so as to reduce friction on the skin.  So if you’re using it correctly you will truly get to enjoy this product.  However, if you try to apply too much, you may find it stripping.  There are some lovely ingredients in here such as royal jelly extract, Chinese quince fruit extract, birch sap, etc.

Serums / Lotions:

  1. Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum* is one of the brand’s cult product and is a pre-serum or booster of sorts.  It hydrates and balances skin after cleansing, and preps it to better absorb the ensuing skincare products.  Used on its own, I didn’t find it too impressive, but in combination with my other skincare products, I definitely noticed improved levels of hydration.  A nice way to try out Sulwhasoo’s vast array of skincare.
  2. YSL Youth Liberator Y-Shape Concentrate was something I bought years ago when it was first launched, but mostly because it was coupled with a massager that I really wanted.  I tried it when it was brand new, and then put it aside and forgot why…until I picked it up again recently.  Texture-wise it is light enough and pleasant to use, however not only did it not result in a more v-shaped jawline, it even caused my jaw area and neck area to breakout.  But this time, I persevered just to see if things would settle down after awhile… sadly it didn’t.
  3. Albion Exage Vital Focus* is a lightweight serum that boosts the skin’s hydration levels after toner, and preps it for additional treatments.  This particular bottle is from the previous formulation, and there is a newly reformulated version that was launched a few months back.
  4. Kose Infinity Advanced White Lotion* is part of Kose’s whitening skincare line which I was trying out, and I liked this crisp lotion the best out of the entire line-up.  It feels refreshing on the skin, pairs well with everything, and also leaves my skin looking brighter and more evenly toned.

Handcream / Sunscreen:

  1. Cle de Peau Hand Cream* is another old press sample I received years back when the brand was still working with me.  As it is a generously large size, I never got around to finishing it, and I finally decided to try and end it for good.  The trouble with this product is that it does not feel rich enough to really save those with severely chapped hands, and yet at the same time it left my hands feeling uncomfortable, somehow my hands feel even drier if that is possible.  I really wanted to love it though, because it is one of the few in the markets with built in sunscreen, but it really is not for me.  And I think Cle de Peau has already scrapped this product because I no longer see it on their website.
  2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL* is a general crowd favorite and I have several bottles of this lying around the house.  I’ve shared my positive thoughts about it on a previous empties post [see here], but at the same time this is just not my favorite sunscreen and I don’t usually like to use it on my face.

Eye Creams:

  1. La Mer Lifting Eye Serum* [reviewed here] was the first eye product from the brand that worked on me, and boy did it work!  The lightweight texture is incredible, and it lifts up my droopy lids and tightens up my eye area like a dream.  The packaging states 15ml, but I am very sure the bottle contains much more because I used it every day for over a year and only just emptied it recently.
  2. Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Eye & Lip Contour Cream* [reviewed here] is so good that from the 1st day I tried it, I couldn’t put it away until I finally emptied the very last bit!  This little jar contains 15ml, and again even with daily use, it lasted me for over a year.  If you are looking for a luxurious eye cream that does everything – brightens dark circles, lift droopy lids, soothe out wrinkles… – this is the one worth investing in!

Masks:

  1. Bobbi Brown Instant Detox Mask* is a trusty deep-cleansing clay mask that goes to work in under 5 minutes!  It looks heavy duty, and performs beautifully without ever stripping my sensitive dry skin.  I usually use it after a trip or when my skin feels extra congested, though if you have normal to oily skin I would recommend using it once a week.
  2. Aveseena Honeyactive Beauty Mask* [reviewed here] is a really lovely mask that not only cleanses my skin thoroughly, it also soothes any sensitivies and redness you may have.  This brand is started by a beloved blogger friend who is also a cosmetic scientist, and I know she put so much love into making sure every single ingredient in there does not have any harmful effects on our bodies.  Please go and show some love here [unaffiliated link!].

Wow, this post actually took me 3 days to finish writing, so kudos to you for making through all the way with me!! I started this series of empties post because I wanted a way to track my product usage and to document my thoughts especially for those items that I never get around to reviewing in full.  However, I am never quite sure if readers find it interesting.  It is a big challenge trying to photograph disparate containers of ugly used up old tubes/bottles and even more work trying to type up succinct summaries of my thoughts on each of them.  So I would really really appreciate if you would drop me a line below or anywhere else (IG DM, email, tweet, etc) to let me know if you’d like to continue seeing such content on a regular basis, or what I can do to make the read more fun for you!!  Thank you so very much!!!

This post featured some products that were generously provided for my consideration, and are marked with (*) for your information. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line.